zoom Norway-based shipping company Grieg Star has completed a USD 400 million senior debt refinancing involving extended maturities for the financing of 23 vessels in the fleet.Loans with original expiry set for 2017/2018 were extended for five or more years with new expiry being 2021 or beyond.The refinancing was completed with five European banks.“We are very pleased to have received continued support from quality financiers like DNB, Nordea, SR-Bank and ABN AMRO including establishing new relationships with Credit Suisse. This refinancing reflects our strong bank relationships and the importance of having capital sources available in a challenging market like what we see today,” Camilla Grieg, CEO of Grieg Star, said.Grieg Star operates 45 open hatch and dry bulk vessels of which 31 vessels are on the balance sheet.“The completed refinancing ensures long-term financing for all vessels owned by the company,” the company said. In addition to extending maturities, the refinancing sum will entail a cash release of more than USD 50 million. Together with the existing liquidity reserves, the added liquidity “will ensure strong cash reserves and financial strength going forward”, according to the company.Grieg Star had previously secured financing of newbuilding commitments and has currently no unfunded future capital expenditures, as explained by the company.
The locust situation continues to be serious in western Sudan where hopper bands and groups of immature adults of the crop-devouring creatures are present in Darfur, a region already afflicted by civil strife, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said in its latest update today. Although survey and control operations are in progress, many areas cannot be accessed in the region, where tens of thousands of people have been killed and millions displaced during two years of fighting between the Government, allied militia and rebels, it added. In Eritrea, small groups of hoppers have formed on the Red Sea coast near the border with Sudan where local breeding occurred after unusually good rainfall and control operations are now under way, FAO reported. Control operations were also carried out recently against hopper infestations in western Tigray province in northern Ethiopia. Scattered adults are also breeding in the interior in Yemen.In West Africa, where infestations two years ago sparked fears of a potentially worse crisis than the last plague nearly 20 years ago, only low numbers of immature and mature solitary adults are present in parts of southern Mauritania, northern Mali and Niger, where earlier damage caused by the locusts has exacerbated a food crisis. Although ecological conditions are unusually favourable for breeding within a large portion of the northern Sahel region bordering the Sahara, no hoppers have been found so far. Nevertheless, intensive surveys must continue to detect any signs that locust numbers might be increasing, FAO said.On the other hand, local breeding has occurred west of Tamanrasset in southern Algeria where scattered late hoppers and immature adults were treated. Breeding is in progress and scattered adults are present in Kanem, Batha and Wadi Fira regions in Chad but the situation remains rather unclear because of unconfirmed reports of swarms in some of these areas.
WASHINGTON – U.S. manufacturing expanded in April for the second straight month, suggesting that factories are adapting to a strong dollar and economic weakness overseas, according to a private survey.The Institute for Supply Management said Monday that its manufacturing index came in at 50.8 last month, down from March’s 51.8 reading but above the 50 threshold that signals growth. The March number had snapped a five-month losing streak for manufacturers.Export orders grew faster in April. Still, the index came in below economists’ expectations, and new orders and production grew more slowly last month than they did in March. A measure of employment fell, suggesting that factories are cutting workers.Eleven of 18 manufacturing industries reported growth last month, and 15 reported increases in new orders and production. “This morning’s report brings another welcome sign of stabilization for the US manufacturing sector,” Barclays economist Rob Martin wrote in a research report.The dollar surged last year, but has fallen since January, giving American factories some relief. A strong dollar makes U.S. goods more expensive in foreign markets. Bradley Holcomb, chair of ISM’s manufacturing survey committee, expects manufacturing to show resiliency “if the dollar continues to behave itself.”The ISM, a trade group of purchasing managers, surveys about 200 U.S. companies each month.Last week, the Commerce Department reported that orders to U.S. factories for long-lasting goods rose in March, rebounding from a drop in February. But the gain was generated by rising demand for military equipment, a volatile category. Excluding defence, durable goods orders dropped 1 per cent in March.The American economy has drawn more strength from services than manufacturing. The ISM’s services index has come in above 50 every month since January 2010. Survey: US manufacturing grew again in April FILE – In this Monday, Dec. 7, 2015, file photo, the second Boeing 737 MAX airplane being built is shown on the assembly line in Renton, Wash. On Monday, May 2, 2016, the Institute for Supply Management, a trade group of purchasing managers, issues its index of manufacturing activity for April. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File) by Paul Wiseman, The Associated Press Posted May 2, 2016 8:21 am MDT Last Updated May 2, 2016 at 11:00 am MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email
The report, which will be presented to the UN Human Rights Council in March, depicts a country suffering from increasing turmoil and lawlessness, inflamed by a multitude of competing, heavily armed groups and a broadening political crisis. Against such a backdrop, it calls for bolstering State institutions, urges accountability for rights violations and support for the ongoing political dialogue. “Rampant violence and fighting, including in the country’s two biggest cities, Tripoli and Benghazi, as well as many other cities and towns across the country, is badly affecting civilians in general and a number of specific groups in particular,” said spokesperson Rupert Colville. Indiscriminate artillery and air attacks are commonplace, the report says, while infrastructure, such hospitals, schools and airports, has been attacked and damaged or used for military purposes.He said the report found tremendous suffering among children, with many unable to attend school and others killed or maimed at home or during attacks on schools and hospitals, as well as numerous reports of violence against women, including threats, attacks and killings of female human rights defenders, politicians and other women in public positions.Targeted violence, unlawful killings and assassinations, were found to be common, with footage emerging in November that appeared to show several beheadings in Benghazi and Derna. Cases of harassment, intimidation, torture, abductions, and summary executions of human rights defenders, civil society activists, journalists and other media professionals, as well as members of the judiciary, politicians and law enforcement officers were common and minority groups, including Egyptian Coptic Christians, have also been increasingly targeted. “The report also highlights the extremely vulnerable situation of migrants in Libya, especially those in areas affected by the fighting, and of internally displaced people,” said Mr. Colville. “Migrants face arbitrary detention and very poor conditions of detention, marked by overcrowding, poor sanitation and exploitation.”Fighting and intentional destruction of residential and commercial property has caused ballooning displacement with the number of internally displaced persons soaring from 60,000 at the beginning of 2014 to around 400,000 by mid-November. UN human rights staff report thousands of people in detention, held mostly by armed groups in situations where torture and ill-treatment is rife, with no means of challenging their situation because prosecutors and judges are unable or unwilling to confront the armed groups.The intimidation and attacks suffered by members of the judiciary, which include court bombings, physical assaults, abduction of individuals or family members and unlawful killings, help explain the hesitancy and the breakdown of the justice system, which does not function in some parts of the country.State institutions must be strengthened, the report urges, calling for accountability for human rights violations and support the ongoing political dialogue. Reforms have been severely undermined by the security situation, with little progress on establishing a new fact-finding and reconciliation commission or measures of redress for victims.“The National Council on Civil Liberties and Human Rights, Libya’s national human rights institution which has been forcefully shut down in Tripoli, must be allowed to resume its work,” said Mr. Colville, who noted that the Constitution Drafting Assembly was in urgent need of support to continue functioning.As the Libyan parties prepare to restart UN-supported political talks – two rounds of discussions have been held in the past month at the UN Office in Geneva – Bernardo Leon, head of the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) told UN Radio that he believed that while the majority of the people in the country were pushing their political representatives and the militias alike to negotiate, “a minority, but a noisy minority and people who hold weapons and have power, in some cases are against [the talks.]”“Our challenge is to make sure this majority has enough support from the international community to prevail over the minority,” he said the coming round of negotiations, which will be held in Libya rather than Geneva. The time and location for the talks had not been released for security reasons.Asked what would be the difference between the talks now that they were opening in a new location, Mr. Leon stressed that the dialogue is the same, while it has different tracks. “One is this political track; there are other groups with municipalities with the armed groups, tribal leaders and political parties. So you have different groups discussing different things but the idea is that at the end they will all converge in one final group.”He went on to say that as of now, all the mainstream groups, the most influential groups in both the political and military realms in both groups fighting in Libya are supporting the UN-mediated political process, which he said had been agreed by the parties and should include at the first stage “the unity government and the stabilization programme including, ceasefire, weapons control, militias leaving cities and the strategic facilities and monitoring. “If we can achieve these two very urgent goals we will be solving maybe 75 per cent or 80 per cent of the current problems in Libya. Still we will have a lot of challenges and it will be an important step, but it won’t be enough,” he explained, underscoring that the constitution process would need to be re-launched and that negotiation would be needed “to find solutions for the institutional chaos in the country.”“So, we will still have a long way [to go], even if we’re successful in the first stage, but if we can get in the coming weeks this ceasefire and especially the unity government, I think we will have achieved a lot,” said Mr. Leon.